Friday, October 13, 2017

Sellers-Inspired Step Stools

I don't have a lot of space to be storing scrap wood "that I'll eventually use in just the right project".  Yeah, right.  So I've been trying to use up some scrap wood and a good start is making a few step stools.  I gave away the three stools pictured at the end of this post on and the response was so immediate that I'm using a bunch more scrap and making 5-6 more.  Lots of pictures, so I'll let the captions do the talking.
Leg stock started round 1 1/4" diam.  Made marks where the bulge will be.

With 7/8" circle marked on ends, planed from bulge marks to end
You can tell when you're done that facet when you nick the 7/8" circle
Top view of same showing the nick of the circle
Four sides done
Starting to round the corners left over
Just about there
This leaves many facets from the plane
But with spokeshave ...
... and curved scraper (in wooden holder) ...
... we get a nice rounded leg without using a lathe
Marking a found table top that will become three 9 x 15" oval stool tops
Marking hold locations and sight lines
Jig to align bit and brace
Always helps to mark things to avoid mistakes
Jig lined up with sight line
Easy to see I'm lined up in this direction
But I used a mirror to check the angle in the other direction
First time using the mirror trick - worked nicely, though the mirror is a bit large
Some tops I sawed close to the oval layout lines and then chiseled and planed to shape
Others I sawed relief cuts and then chiseled and planed to shape - first method was quicker I think
Legs fitted into the holes with a lot of patience.
Test fit, find where it's rubbing, scrape a little in those areas, repeat
After glue-up, shimming the legs so the top is parallel to benchtop
Scribing the legs ready to cut to length
Legs were glued and wedged into the holes.
Three coats of shellac used as finish.
One of the stools I experimented with octagonal legs (left in pic).
Octagonal, tapered, bulge in center.
Turned out that was far more work for little if any benefit.
I'm now in the process of making 5-6 more stools from scrap and found wood.  I've found that one reason I'm so slow is that using found wood requires a LOT of extra work to get useful parts.  Some of these stools will go to a local school where the kids need a little help getting up to the sinks.


  1. Beautiful stools.
    I really like the double tapered legs.

    Reusing wood is definitely a lot more work than just buying some wood in the appropriate size. But there is a certain feeling about putting it to good use.

    I have never heard of before, so I checked them out. There are 3 groups in total in Denmark, but they all seem fairly inactive. Or perhaps it is just too easy to give away stuff over her. Most small towns have at least a couple of different charity run thrift stores that gladly comes to your home and picks up e.g. old furniture and sells it.


    1. Hi Jonas. I didn't know Freecycle extended outside the U.S. I really love using recycled wood. Many of the leg blanks I've been preparing this week used to be a table undercarriage or parts of a chair. And they're beech! I might have saved that wood for making wooden planes, but like a lot of furniture these days, the wood was laminated. So there is no consistent grain direction within the pieces. Perfect for small projects like a stool, though.

  2. What a great idea donating stools to I am going to check to see if there is anything like that in my area.

    1. I love keeping stuff out of landfills. I've been able to give away my bags of shavings. People use them for animal bedding, bird cage floor lining, garden mulch and who-knows-what-else.

  3. Hi Matt,
    well shaped legs. I like them. I have to spend some more training into it.
    Great idea to give them away for a meaningful purpose.
    That's a sustained approach of getting rid of scraps.